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Is Canada Rising to the Arctic Challenge?

Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans calls for a stronger Coast Guard to assert Canada’s presence in the North

“Rising to the Arctic Challenge: Report on the Canadian Coast Guard”.

Executive Summary
Background on the Canadian Coast Guard
Background on the study
Image Gallery
Committee Home

William Rompkey, P.C.

Ethel M. Cochrane

Willie Adams

Joan Cook

James Cowan

Elizabeth Hubley

Janis G. Johnson

Michael L. MacDonald

Fabian Manning

Nancy Greene Raine

Fernand Robichaud, P.C.

Charlie Watt

Contact Information
Ceri Au
Communications Officer
Toll-free: 1-800-267-7362

Danielle Labonté
Committee Clerk
Toll-free: 1-800-267-7362

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Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that Canada uphold its position that the waters of the Northwest Passage are its internal waters, and that Canada should be prepared to defend any legal challenge.
(See pages 21-27, 42-45.)

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends that Canada develop a much stronger year-round, national presence and enforcement capability to show the world that Canada is serious about controlling the Northwest Passage, protecting Canadian interests and Canada’s northern residents, and making the waterway a safe and efficient shipping route. 
(See pages 21-27, 42-45.)

Recommendation 3

The committee recommends that the Government of Canada consider Goose Bay, Labrador, as a sub-Arctic staging area for the coordination and support of Coast Guard, fisheries, search and rescue, surveillance and other Arctic activities. 
(See pages 34 and 45, 44.)

Recommendation 4

The committee recommends that the Nunavut Marine Council (Part 4, Article 15.4.1 of the 2003 Nunavut Land Claims Agreement) be created as a forum for priority setting and planning, and as a practical means to enhance Canada’s sovereignty in marine areas. 
(See pages 36 and 44.)

Recommendation 5

The committee recommends that Canada assume a leadership role in promoting international cooperation on:  (a) issues relating to continental shelf claims; and (b) the development of a mandatory common code relating to the construction, manning and equipment of all vessels operating in the Arctic Ocean equal to Canada’s domestic standards. 
(See pages 43 and 44.)

Recommendation 6

The committee recommends that Canada demonstrate its commitment to international cooperation within the Arctic Council by re-establishing the position of Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs (which was eliminated in 2006).
(See page 44.)

Recommendation 7

The committee recommends that the Department of National Defence make the Canadian Rangers an integral part of the Canadian reserves and provide them with marine capability. 
(See pages 35 and 45.)

Recommendation 8

The committee recommends that the Government of Canada establish an Arctic Strategy Advisory Committee, led by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, to monitor and to advise in the development and implementation of an effective and integrated strategy for the North.  The new Arctic Strategy Advisory Committee should comprise representatives from the federal government departments and agencies with a mandate in the Arctic, with particular emphasis on the Coast Guard, the various Aboriginal/Inuit groups in the region, and the three territorial governments.
(See pages 34 and 45)

Recommendation 9

The committee recommends that Inuit, with their unique knowledge of the region, be recruited for the Coast Guard whenever possible. 
(See pages 63-64, 66 and 68.)

Recommendation 10

The committee recommends that the Coast Guard, as the expert agency on the maritime situation facing Canada in the Arctic, formulate and implement a long-term strategic vision to guide it for the future. 
(See pages 65-66 and 68.)

Recommendation 11

The committee recommends that NORDREG, Canada’s current voluntary vessel traffic system in the Arctic, be made compulsory.  All foreign ships that enter Canada’s Arctic waters should be required to register with NORDREG, regardless of vessel size. 
(See pages 54-59, 67 and 69.)

Recommendation 12 The committee recommends that the federal government amend the definition of Arctic waters in the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act to include the waters beyond the Arctic Archipelago to the 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone, which is the case with other Canadian legislation, such as the Oceans Act and the Canada Shipping Act, 2001
(See pages 55-59, 67 and 69.)
Recommendation 13 The committee recommends that Canada develop a long-term plan for the acquisition of new multi-purpose heavy icebreakers “made-in-Canada” and capable of operating year-round in its Arctic Archipelago and on the continental shelf as part of an integrated approach to vessel procurement recognizing the complementarity of Coast Guard and naval vessels.  (
See pages 49-54, 67-68, and 69.)
Recommendation 14

The committee recommends the deployment of multi-mission polar icebreakers operated by the Coast Guard as a cost-effective solution to Canada’s surveillance and sovereignty patrol needs in the Arctic. 
(See pages 52-54, 68 and 69.)


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